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My Toxic MIL Sends Her “Love”

MILDear Chump Lady,

I’m 3 weeks a chump and my cheater is your usual no-remorse, gaslighting passive-aggressive joy who is now playing at being the perfect father on email (he’s also an over-entitled peacock, spending secret money on posh clothes, fancy haircuts and hours lazing in the sun to get a peacock-beautiful suntan, while I toiled indoors in a sleep-deprived haze looking after our baby and toddler). Yet how is it that most of my brain energy is being spent on his mother?

She knows about the affair (started mere weeks after I gave birth, if not before), the historic domestic violence, him hiding money while the children and I went without. Yet she’s never once condemned what he’s done to me.

Sure she sends me messages saying she’s thinking of all of us and sending us all love. Yet…

Two days after I became a chump (numb stage), she rang me and the first thing she said was to say her son was very upset and could I feel sorry for him. What??? Then, she went straight in to saying its not about couples therapy anymore, it’s about mediation. She proceeded to bang on about how we needed mediation now and she’d found some info on the Internet, which she’d email to Cheater Son and I. Two days in, I was still wondering what my Cheater was going to make for dinner, such was my lack of comprehension, and here she was, pushing me into mediation!

Then it was “it’s all about the children now.” As if I don’t exist! Everything he did to me, all the pain, suffering, neglect, all of that doesn’t matter now, two days after D-Day, in her eyes?

The final straw was when I saw her and she offered me a hug. It was a weak, pathetic hug and as she was hugging me, she took the opportunity to whisper in my ear to remind me that it is all about the children (again). Not, I’m so sorry. Not, you’ll get through this; not, we’ll always be here for you and the children. No, she steamrolled over me once again under the guise of a hug. Shall I just call her Brutus and be done with it?!

What I want to know is, is this common? This lack of condemning what the Cheater Son has done and steamrolling over the Chump? Both her and her husband have cheated on each other, so do they have some kind of “cheating is normal, get over it, loser” attitude? It seems like both my Cheater and my MIL are behaving as if this is a normal break-up, like I haven’t been wronged. I can’t stop writing her emails in my head telling her how much she’s hurt me. Do I tell her how she’s made me feel? We have to have contact because of the children. But I can’t take any more “my poor son is so upset he’s had an affair, poor poppet”. Help!!!

Off the Crazy Train

Dear OTCT,

Is it common for narcissistic, cheating men-children to have enabling, toxic parents? Show of hands chumps!

Unfortunately, if my mail is anything to go by, YES this crappy dynamic is very common. You gotta ask yourself, total fuckwits — nature or nurture? But it’s hard to know. Your cheater inherited DNA from both parents, plus he had the crazy We Cheat On Each Other “values” modeled to him. So, can we be surprised that your shattered heart is a big whatever to these people?

What did you think would make you immune from their narcissism? Your many years of investment in them? Your vulnerability as a young mother with an infant and a toddler? Your devastation at learning of your husband’s cheating?

Hey, you’ve ceased to be kibbles. There’s the exit! Make way for the replacement!

You’re still reeling, and your mother-in-law is guilting you into mediation “for the children“?

That’s a play to get you to settle for less and financially screw you over, while you’re reeling and emotionally vulnerable. You get your own LAWYER and all divorce talk goes through your LAWYER.

As for MIL, I bet this isn’t her first mindfuck rodeo. Welcome to the Discard. It’s hard enough to wrap your mind around your husband cheating — it’s even harder to comprehend the conspiracy of it. That you’d already been plotted against, your place in the family usurped, and a thinly disguised Your Services Are No Longer Needed. Do we lamely hug the meter reader? Why would we? It’s awkward, and inappropriate. Who’s the meter reader to us? Okay, if you insist on this mawkish display of “affection”, whatever…

do they have some kind of “cheating is normal, get over it, loser” attitude?

Yes, Loser — get over it. Your services are no longer needed. You were a good baby vessel and now that you’ve bred (thank you for the grandchildren), please sign away your child support (it’s mediation… for the children! don’t be bitter!) and make a hasty retreat. Or we’ll call security.

It seems like both my Cheater and my MIL are behaving as if this is a normal break-up, 

To narcissists, this IS a normal break up. No shame. No self-reflection. No fair settlement. Your services are no longer needed. It’s all about THEM. (Who are you again? Didn’t you already read the meter? It’s there… behind those thorny bushes, and the wasps’ nest… bill me later… or preferably not at all.)

I can’t stop writing her emails in my head telling her how much she’s hurt me. Do I tell her how she’s made me feel?

NO. Why don’t you tell that lamppost how you feel instead. The lamppost has more depth of feeling and the lamppost won’t use your innermost thoughts and vulnerabilities against you in a custody trial.

Absolutely do NOT reach out to your MIL or show her ANY weakness. You must go total no contact on these people to protect your sanity now. Maybe on some distant Tuesday, when you’re truly meh (it will happen, I promise), you can stand to see her face (in the nursing home, or hooked up to a ventilator, or wandering in the rose garden at the dementia ward). Until then, do not engage. Your STBXH can handle the visits and drop-offs.

I can’t take any more “My poor son is so upset he’s had an affair, poor poppet.”

Poor Poppet should go live on Mumsy’s sofa for awhile. She can bring him warm milk and graham crackers and comfort him from the affliction of his stupidity.

Not Your Problem anymore. They’ve shown you who they are, now you must BELIEVE IT.

The upside of losing a family of toxic freaks, is it frees your life up for better people. Big ((hugs)) to you. It gets better.

This one ran before.

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      • Sparkledick actually bullied me into helping pay for the funeral of his brother’s MIL. Who always avoided me because he knew that I knew that he has two families (pretty common where I live….). No wonder he was always broke and couldn’t pay for a funeral.

        • 2 opposite experiences:

          MY own experience after 35 years, was that my FIL and his wife of 28 years (his 4th wife, btw) dropped off the face of the earth. He was in my life longer than my own father. And we have had ZERO contact from them and they have not reached out to our 3 children in over 3 years either….and they are my FIL’s only grandchildren. WTF???

          I suspect my ex must have poisoned the well for years, doing mental gymnastics I’ll never relate to,

          OR we never mattered much…

          In contrast, my sister’s EX left her after 22 years of marriage & 3 kids. HIS PARENTS called and visited my sister, they helped her AND they told their son he was making a huge mistake and being “very selfish”.

          They also apologized to my sister and said they were “so disappointed” in their son.

          They continued to help and support her over the years. They loved her.

          Years later, when her MIL passed away suddenly, in the obituary they listed the survivors and named my sister as the “Beloved mother of 3 granchildren”.

          I know my former BIL’s family, and he’s the only narcissist in it. So it happens…

    • My MIL told me to get over it only weeks after D-Day when my chumpy self drove her to her doctor’s appointment. And then, get this, she started to sing church hymns when I explained that her son was an entitled narcissist of low character. I’ve known this woman for 37 years. STBX and I have been married 35 years. He had a 2 1/2 year affair with a co-worker (nurse) 12 years his junior. The mom is a flaming narcissist too–acorn, tree.

    • It really is one of the best parts of the divorce! I didn’t hear a single word from my ex MIL when I filed for divorce 5 years ago or any time since and that’s after 33 years as a member of her family. My adult children still have to deal with her so I have a lot of “there but for the grace of God go I” moments when they complain about something she did or what they have to put up with. And Karma (or whatever) has really kicked her ass. When I was married to her darling son she complained constantly about how inadequate I was as a woman/wife/mother but now her only child has given her a drug-addicted-former-stripper-who-lost-custody-of her-own-children as her new DIL so suddenly I’m looking pretty good! 😀

  • My ex mil did the same thing. Told me how upset her son was, was praying for us, etc. Then she wrote me a letter that said she was worried about my eternal soul. She said I should be like Jesus and forgive her son and she really wanted me to go to heaven. I did not respond.

    • another selective picker of the bible, Jesus may have forgiven the woman caught in adultery but he also told her to go and sin no more, it’s her son’s soul she should be worried about

      • Right, but I’d go even a bit further. She wasn’t forgiven. She was merely not condemned. And Jesus did not condemn anyone as far as I know (so not doing so says nothing about her adultery), while many were actually overtly forgiven by Him.

        A lot of people, especially cheaters, confuse the nature of mercy and judgement based on this passage. Everyone receives mercy in the form of time to repent, it’s left ambiguous whether the adulteress or her partner ever did. And judgements aren’t the problem, hypocritical judgements are. When a righteous judgement is made, and we are called in many places in the gospel to make them (shake even the dust of their town from your feet in testament against them), we are not to meet out punishment, but rather to “treat them as you would a tax collector” (no contact) when they refuse to repent. Cheaters conveniently twist all this into suggesting adultery is no big deal, judging is the real problem. Nope.

        • No offense meant here.

          As I have been coming to terms with the gaslighting and coercive control in my marriage, which was exacerbated by cultural/religious norms, I have read the story of this woman “taken in adultery” differently. In fact, her story is so different to me now that I have a physical, visceral response when she is held up as the adulteress and there is discussion of her story as teaching us about adultery. I desperately want to defend her.

          As chumps who know how well a master manipulator can blameshift, including telling a public story that destroys us, maybe it’s time to think of the “woman taken in adultery” from the POV of #metoo—this woman is most likely a fellow chump in some way, and almost certainly an abused woman.

          As the truth of what happened in my marriage started to come out little by little in private, my husband became ever more upstanding outwardly, and he worked very hard to control the narrative for his own purposes. He became super amazing beyond his previously nice outward persona—religiously, and in our community, and at work, and with friends and family in conversation. My STBXH has now read letters to family and friends blaming me for things, saying I am the bad actor, and telling me that of course everyone sees me this way. That they tell him he is a good man! He cries, “she wanted a DIVORCE!” He says to the kids, also crying, “I guess I was not enough for your mom.”

          So regarding this poor woman in the Bible story, this woman was used by the men of the community as a way of tricking Jesus. And talk about a discard and devalue! They used her to the extent that they were entirely ready to stone her just to “get” Jesus.

          What is the cultural context here? What value did any woman, even a wealthy woman, have in this culture thousands of years ago? What is this woman’s real story? What are the other parts of the story not told? How did these powerful men know about her adultery enough to catch her in the very moment? Who set this up? It is very likely this was set up by members of this group. I mean, what are the chances of these powerful men having associates who just happened to be walking through town and overheard a woman (who knew the punishment of stoning) right in the act of adultery, right then, loud enough for them to happen to run in and grab her and take her in front of the group, at that very moment?

          Whose lover was she? Whose mistress? Why isn’t the man she was “in adultery” with brought before the group as well? Is it not more likely this woman was in a situation of powerlessness? Someone, a man somehow connected with this group, set her up specifically so they could bring her in front of Jesus as a way of putting him in a difficult situation for their purposes. This was not about the morals of adultery and the sanctity of marriage. She was nothing more than property, a woman appliance to be used in this moment. They cared nothing for her, and used her not just for sex at the moment but they were willing to see her stoned.

          Is it possible that the words that Jesus scratched into the dirt were the names of the men who had been abusing her?

          Sorry for the deep dive above, but since seeing the twists and distortions of my own experience of abuse, I cannot read this story anymore as this woman being the person requiring forgiveness. She needed deliverance, from abusers. From evil people pretending to be good. As fellow chumps, let’s remember what it is like to be gaslighted and abused and have our reputations and lives devalued. Let’s save this woman and other people whose stories are twisted, by at least reconsidering her story as being about power and control. It’s not about the sex; it’s about the lies.

          • Wow grumpy.What a great analysis of this story. In those times women were nothing more than chatels so I think the whole story was not told. It would be like today in some cultures raped women are charged with adultery and put in jail or like a certain film producer in the US blaming the victims of his predatory sexual abuse.

          • I never thought of any of this. And I should know better. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • Your ex-MIL sending crap like this through the US mail is precisely why the post office lets us “Return to Sender“.

  • I feel sorry reading this . The non remorse, the ‘think of the children not yourself’ conversations, the ‘you don’t matter any more as a wife/mother’. I had all this. At the very beginning for a limited time I had a limited bit of contact from mil. Then silence. Nothing in three years. Five grandchildren here being raised by this momma. How I hate what he did. What he still does. But I’m getting more and more peace every day. Best wishes to you momma. They are just selfish rats who steal, lie and are so weirdly self-centred

    • Sadly this isnt surprising behavior. My MIL was the side chic for years to my FIL. MIL moved in after my FILs first wife died. My FIL NEVER married my MIL. They just shacked after she gave him 4 kids and pined away looking at bride books as a 60 year old woman!! So my ex comes from cheater DNA. What killed me was how my sister in laws who were married to my ex’s brothers treated me. I wasnt shocked to be shunned and ignored by my ex’s brothers and sister since he controlled them too. But my sister in laws married into the family. They acted like I made the shit up after years of being their friend, babysitting, loaning money etc. Gosh that really hurt. But I moved on. My kids know they are not welcome in my house under any circumstances. I don’t care if it’s my kids graduation party or baby shower. !! I was them a few years ago at my FILs funeral. I barely parted my lips to my sister in laws. And I totally ignored my brother in laws. Felt great too.

    • I agree. I love my son, but I was so tired of hearing “think of your son”. I’ve always taken care of my son, why would I stop just because my lying cheating husband was divorcing me. The narcissist is such a strange type of person. I’m amazed at how much I wanted that person to stay in my life, and now I’m so thankful they are gone. I think the moment I realized how peaceful and quiet my house was after they left is when I truly started to heal and feel normal again. Even my son noticed the difference in the house. I’m thankful my son is not narcissistic. Thank you Chump Nation for sharing all your stories.

      • I’m very grateful that I’ve had time making a home with my kids where one person’s mood/needs/preferences didn’t hold the atmosphere hostage with eggshell walking.

  • No, you don’t need to be in contact with your in-laws. Once you’re divorced you can forget about them. It’s up to your ex to take the children to see his parents (who have no legal rights to the grandchildren ).

    For the children – if they were so important to him he wouldn’t have f****d around and risk losing his family. I’m sure they’re everything to you so I suggest that you find yourself a lawyer and take a very good care of your family. All of you aren’t his priority – he stole, spent money on himself and slept around. Be strong!

    • My exmil threatened me with court a mere 7 weeks after D-day! Before her son moved 200 miles away. She 3xpected me to facilitate contact with her grand children. I have proof she is two faced and she never really said she’d support me but that she was on both our sides.
      I recommend she speak to her son about seeing his kids. Since he didn’t bother she didn’t get to see them. He left another thing for me to sort. She demanded straight away and didn’t give me room to breathe and adjust. Full on lawyer and sending grandparents charters to my son! They have contact via text and that is plenty. If he didn’t care about his kids I won’t care about his mother. Harsh as that sounds. She knows what heresies her son committed but will never condemn him. She’ll condemn me and tell him not to pay child support!

  • I’m almost 2 years post marriage, have custody of the kids and everything. My ex-MIL has never said one bad thing about me during our 25 years together. And she texts me out of the blue last night to tell me “perhaps if I had tried to make my marriage work none of this would have happened.” And “(my ex-wife) is a wonderful mother who only wants the best for her children.”

    I’m still in shock, and I can only imagine how the truth gets all twisted around. But you know what my response is? Crickets.

    • I think you don’t really violate NC if you text back – if your daughter hadn’t cheated the divorce for sure wouldn’t have happened.

    • This is what makes you a sane parent and Hero. Leaving the drama behind and living to raise good kids.

      Ex wife must be doing something that needs a little image management. Not your circus, not your monkeys.

    • Ex-wife is touching her mother up for money. Crickets IS the right response.

    • Oddly, my MIL has been quite compassionate and apologetic about her son’s behavior, even though she’s a bit narcissistic too. She was neutral at first, but then my xh became enraged at her at Christmas because she sent gifts to my daughter and me. That really pissed off my MIL because she loves being generous. I told my counselor this and she reminded me never to trust her even if she’s being kind now. She suggested she’ll most likely be a flying monkey in disguise. That was hard to hear but I believe her and I’ve pulled back to only talk to her about my daughter’s wellbeing. My counselor said she’s seen it before and she’s worried she’s only being nice so she can either get into the drama for herself or use what she knows about me to appear to be a loyal mom to her son for her own sense of pride. It’s horrible to have to think this way but I feel my counselor is probably right! So keep your distance and get a good lawyer.

      • I feel your counselor is right as well. Plus, not sure if MIL is being honest that her son had a fit because she sent gifts to you and daughter. She could be making this up to stir the pot and yes this would place her smack dab in the middle of the drama, the drama she created. Keep your distance from this woman.

      • Chumptastic-

        Unfortunately, your counselor is most likely right. Be very cautious with mil!

        When xh walked out & moved right in with ow, both my in-laws told me he was so wrong & seemingly couldn’t believe what he did. They said they didn’t raise him like that. Then told me I would always be their daughter & the ow would never ever be welcomed into their home.

        Within months, I realzed fil was actually fueling the fire by telling me things ex was doing with ow & about their life together. At the same time, he was telling xh things I said or was doing. When xh told fil he AND OW was on their way to my house (while our kids were there) with trucks & trailers to just show up & take everything THEY wanted, did proclaimed ok n my side fil give me a heads up? Nope, not even “for the kid’s sakes”!

        When I asked they didn’t tell him that was wrong to do (or why cheating on me, stealing from me, etc was wrong & HE should think about what HE was doing to our kids) they said they didn’t want to make him mad at them because then he might not call them or come visit them. (Enabling much?!)

        Within a year, they welcomed ow into their home for a week long stay. When I mentioned they had said they would never do that, they said they had to or xh might not come see them otherwise. If he did, he wouldn’t have brought our kids with him because certainly he couldn’t take care of them alone for a 2 day trip. He needed a women’s help for that.

        Fast forward a few more years. Ex physically abused our kids at the 1st visitation he had that a live in gf wasn’t there to do all the work (he was between #5 & #6 at that time). He ended up being charged with felony child abuse. In laws didn’t call or talk to grandkids during this at all for the 8 months before the trial. Until the night before. Mil called asking to talk to my daughter. She actually said she wanted to tell her to not lie on the stand. That her Dad didn’t do what she and brother were saying. She said she should stop her lying. Uh, ya. Did she ask granddaughter her side? Nope. Did she show any c ok concern for her grandchildren’s safteyvor well being what-so-ever? Nope. Instead, the grandparents ended up basically disowning their only 2 grandchildren (haven’t called, wrote, seen them for years now).

        Soooooo, BE CAUTIOUS! Will your in-laws end up being as two faced as mine (after a decent 20+ year relationship I had with them). Probably not. But, you can’t really ever trust what the in-laws say, especially in the beginning of the divorce. After all, their first alliance is always going to be to their son. No matter what they tell you. Are their exceptions? Sure. But they’re as rare as that flying unicorn!!!

        • Wow. I’m sorry that happened to you and it’s a good cautionary tale. I’ve wondered when it is they’ll turn on me. Probably as soon as xh kicks in with more lies about me. It’s hard to lose a husband of 25 years and all their family too. But, I’m totally concerned about protecting myself and my daughter now, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing.

        • I never thought of any of this. And I should know better. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • I’m thinking that maybe your ex wrote and sent that message under her mother’s name.

  • Dear OTCT,

    Your question “how is it that most of my brain energy is being spent on his mother?” struck me deep in the heart. I spend little time thinking of sparkledick and a lot of time wondering how my in laws could be soooooooo fucking cruel to me when D-Day rolled around.

    I feel more traumatized by the behavior of sparkle’s family towards me, than by sparkles himself. I still get the shivers when I think of them and unfortunately there are lots of triggers.

    I considered my in-laws as my family and my friends. I helped everyone (including, surprise, $$$). I feel so stupid for being blind to so many red flags. They were never GOOD people.

    In hindsight I see how they were always just self-interested, shallow moochers. And that is on me for being blind to this. I was LAZY, I have to admit it. BUT I actually feel better for owning up to this flaw of mine. And this is no reason not to change, not to protect yourself and not to leave a cheater and gain a life.

    OTCT, you are in very good company here at CN. Don’t let MIL drag you down, she is giving you the proverbial hug from the drowning man. Drowning in the knowledge that she raised a fuckwit. Easier to blame you. Do not waste time gaining a life! Take care.

    • Same here. I had no real idea what disorder was or how it can function, in its most pernicious form, right in front of the world while remaining so hidden. Totally ignorant and stupidly naive was I. I actually expected in-laws and family to be horrified and join me in concern. When they began justifying downplaying everything, I actually thought they just didn’t understand. So I explained it to them fully. Repeatedly. When they suggested maybe I have something wrong in my family that explains my reacting this way, I began to sense the features of their disorder, but without knowing that that was what I was sensing. At the time it was just bafflement. This was over weeks and months. But I still thought that pointing out their disordered symptoms (I didn’t know the term “disorder” or anything else at the time) to them was a good idea. I mean, if someone were able to show me all the harm I cause, or my role in it, one of two things would come of it: 1) I’d be stunned and introspective and begin to make amends, or 2) I’d be able to answer each charge with evidence that would correct the picture and all parties would be better off as they move forward. Duh. Neither happened. Instead what happened was what I’d later learn to be just standard predictable DARVO. It’s a long torturous road of slander, smear, attacks, evasions, gaslighting, covert-aggressiveness and theatre from there. What a total mindfuck, the proportions of which are too long to relate here. But I’ve come to truly understand the disordered ecosystem, and I can definitely tell the writer two things: 1) It came to your husband from that MIL, and 2) She/they have no capacity to sense or grasp anything you tell them about it.

    • Clearwaters, I totally relate. I knew how ill and awful my ex was but was shocked to find out that he had so much of his family and friends prepped and ready to leave me and my kids for dead once my ex found a new victim. It was so sad and really a symptom of the dysfunction and enabling that went on. Now 4 years out he is estranged from his siblings and his dad FINALLY stopped giving him money after he SPENT the cash his dad gave him to file for bankruptcy. I was so hurt at first but really they were all so sick there was no way to stay in any type of contact without getting sucked into the vortex of craziness. A blessing in disguise in the long run but it does add disappointment to heartbreak in the moment.

  • I haven’t heard a word from my in-laws in five years. My daughter did say that XW’s mother said she would “pray for me”, but that may just be the Italian equivalent of “bless his heart”.

    But I want to address something else: you need time to recover your equilibrium before you agree to anything. When you are in the midst of emotional upheaval, you can’t think straight, you can’t fully comprehend what’s in front of you, and your ability to make decisions is severely compromised. Do not let anyone push you into anything binding while you are in this state. It took me months before I was able to get an email from my lawyer, read it and understand it fully, and compose a rational response. Luckily, the whole process of separation and divorce takes time, so you can start it now in the expectation that by the time you need to make the hard decisions (in 3, 6, 12 months) your head will be in a better place.

    I kind of knew this was going on (I developed strategies for dealing with it – I started taking notes and putting all appointments in a calendar, where previously I’d just been able to remember things) but I didn’t fully appreciate how cognitively impaired I was until long, long afterwards.

    I know there are people who say to strike while the cheater is feeling remorse, but (1) I don’t see any evidence of remorse here, and (2) the person pushing you to mediation today is definitely not doing it for your benefit. Beware. You’re going to be living with the consequences of the divorce / custody decision you make today for a very, very, very long time.

    I realize this response is more focused on practicalities than sympathy. I know it’s a shitshow. I know you feel like your soul has been raped. If you were here I’d give you a hug and a glass of wine. But other people are better at this kind of thing than I am; I just want to make sure you’re not prematurely pushed into making a decision that you’ll later regret.

    • Please keep Involuntary Georgian‘s post and reread it every day.

      You have a toddler and an infant and you’re overwhelmed, exhausted and devastated.

      Do NOT be influenced by the cheater or his mother/family. Don’t even be influenced by your own family and friends.

      There is no way braces, sports fees, camp, tutors or college tuition is on your radar. Much less and special needs that may arise or your own health issues in the future.

      You need a GREAT, TOUGH lawyer to explain what you need for the future. Interview several and go with the one that has a real plan to protect you and your family. You have ONE chance to get these details right. As Involuntary Georgian said – you have one chance to get it right and will have to live with these decisions for a long time.

      If you have to beg, borrow or use credit to get the best legal advice out there DO IT!

      NO ONE will protect you and your children better than you! Get an education but don’t commit to anything in writing until you get the best legal and financial advice available. Frankly, that and keeping sane is ALL you have time for now.

      Your mother-in-law must be last on your radar. So is gaining a life or figuring out how this happened. Plenty of time for that once you have a plan in place. Read the archives about digging for info, getting all paperwork together, finding a kick-ass lawyer and protecting you and your kids.

      Go no contact with your mother-in-law. Sadly, your best interests aren’t her priority.

      I loved my mother-in-law. She will admit I was an amazing daughter-in-law. But she went with her son and the other woman. It happens and it won’t stop you from getting where you need to go.

      You can do this!

      • I would also say you need a strong, well-vetted support system:
        1. Tough lawyer with your long-term interests in mind.
        2. Therapist who is 100% in your corner, enough to call you out when needed but helping you move into a healthy, strong future.
        3. One or two totally trustworthy friends.
        4. Relatives that don’t gossip, attempt to control you or enable any bad decisions.

    • Gold, Involuntary Georgian!

      I agreed to divorce but told him that things were going to be SLOWED WAY THE F DOWN because I was in severe trauma and needed my wits about me as much as possible. Like Ginger Rogers dancing in heels backwards, I have to recover from trauma, get divorced, not have a heart attack, and be a conscripted primary single parent without losing my mind. He strapped a nuclear device to me and our daughter and gave the launch code to the side piece. The “sole mates” are Having Fun while I am stumbling around ground zero with my skin hanging off, carrying my traumatized child, wondering what to do and how. Fuck him and his tribe of idiots.


      It will save your sanity.

      Time to armor up and protect you and the cubs. Your Papa Bear is Benedict Arnold in a fur suit descended from a long line of traitors. Remember who they are and act accordingly.

    • This is a great comment…clip & save, OP!

      Also, please remember that “mediation” and “hiring a lawyer” are IN NO WAY MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

      Indeed, most of the better mediators in my area ONLY work with folks who have at least retained counsel, because they’re usually retired judges who are NOT commuting to their office everyday because the want the feeling:

      “wow, that cheating scumbag wouldn’t have been able to also rob her blind without using me as an authority figure…and I got $12k! Win-win!”

      No good mediator (and no party who wants a mediator for non-manipulative reasons) has any problem with anyone having a lawyer.

      And no good lawyer has any problem with anyone exploring non-binding mediation as a cost-saving tool…and using it if it seems applicable

      The example my lawyer gave was as follows:

      “So if you guys get down to dividing up the furniture and can’t work it out, a mediator can be great to help break an emotional logjam over Granny’s silverware….

      …but filing court motions compelling her to turn over the financial data to which you are legally entitled, and citing the relevant case law that renders her objections moot is MY job”

      The bottom line is that mediation is most valuable for couples that, while they wish to be divorced, have no reason to distrust each other.

      And that, sadly, just isn’t our situation.

      Stay mighty!

    • Good Stuff Bro. OTCT can use this calm and wise guidance. When I read this, In my brain I was hearing my grandfatherly voice. ????????

      HEY OZZIE!!! On the CRAZY TRAIN!!! (I hope YOU OTCT smiled at That. If you like Ozzie you’re gonna make the connection real quick .)????????????????. If you did grin, I’ve accomplished my mission. I’m also sharing a valuable Infidelity Survival tool that I Very much needed ( and still do) on my journey back from Hades. Humor. Humor. Humor. Do NOT loose your sense of humor.

      Use it like a hammer ????. As time moves forward for you, And you learn about NPD- narcissist personality disorder, You’ll come to see their directives and demands as pure COMEDY.

      Ozzie, gotta tell ya sister…. You ARE A FUCKING BADASS!!! ????????????????
      Protect YOU and your mini-me’s.
      Time to get your Compass ???? oriented to SAFETY AND Freedom.
      My mindset wish for you relative to your forthcoming divorce process goes something like this…
      I, OTCT, Queen of the North, from the First of The Andals, Protector of the realm, do hereby sentence you (MIL and spawn) to death ????.
      Then lop the head off of these traitors.

      I wish I knew how to post the Game of Thrones gif for you.

      Much Love ❤️ Hugz and courage on y’all

  • Oh the Narc MIL, yay. No contact is the only way to go! And get that lawyer! Once they realize that mediation will go horribly for them, they will try all that they can to get your attention, just forward to the lawyer. Done and done. Get mad, stay mad for the time being. These people are sick in the head and you need get mad to protect your children and yourself from them. When you get that lawyer, talk about things like changing the locks. You need to keep yourself and your babies safe so you can start to heal.

  • Same potential dynamic with cheating wives. I spent holiday and family crises with my now ex-MIL for 25 years, but after the first D-day I received zero support from MIL and when I filed for divorce (upon discovery of a new and ongoing affair) she viciously attacked me by email, claiming among other things that I was so horrible I practically drove her daughter to cheat on me. Truly the most hateful communication I have ever received in 56 years of life. Haven’t talked to that horrible woman since, now 10* years.

    Having said that, I know some lovely people who come from families of narcs, and some narcs who come from lovely families. So my sense is nature and nature are both components.

    As others have said, losing the obligation to spend time with wretched in-laws is one of the greatest rewards of leaving a cheater.

    • Curious if you’re observation of narc lineage being broken is dependent on one sane parent in the mix?

      Narc expert Craig Malkin gave me hope that one healthy parent can break the chain.

      • Now that you mention it, yes! For instance, my wonderful mom (60 years a registered nurse, 5 successful kids) had a narc father who was thrown out of the house when she was a year old for carousing and gambling. But her mom was wonderful and raised her as a single mom in the 30’s and 40’s. Also notably had a large Italian family, including some wonderful uncles, serving as surrogate parent s for my my.

      • Yes, even one half-sane parent (like I was for 30 years with psycho-narc Two-Legged Rat) can make a difference. My boys are adults now, and neither of them is a narcissist. Although they still love their dad and have lots of fun with him, they would never use or abuse another human being. And in times of trouble or for meaningful talks, it’s me they come to.

      • My first therapist (a true genius who also taught psychology at a major U) told me repeatedly that all children need is one sane parent. I think it helps if that sane parent understands that it’s key not to indulge children or create expectations of entitlement. So many parents can’t bear a child’s disappointment. For example, take a child who is on a team but doesn’t see much playing time. Some parents lobby the coach, some scream from the sidelines, some undermine the coach and the team by telling kiddo that it’s all so unfair. What the parent should do? Encourage kiddo to try harder in practice, help kiddo to practice on his or her own, suggest that kiddo ask the coach what to work on to improve. And teach kiddo that the most important part of being on a team is putting the team first, encouraging teammates, setting an example of effort and unselfishness. On my own teams, the player on the end of the bench is often one of the most important. A selfish person sitting on the bench? A cancer.

        My point is that there are many, many opportunities to teach kids that self-worth and unselfishness can go hand in hand. That it’s possible to know your worth and not insist on being central in every situation.

  • My ex-mil found marriage to be pretty disposable. No one’s exactly sure how many time she’s been married, but she did pop out kids with at least five men prior to giving birth to my ex-husband.

    My Whore fucking ex-husband told her that we were getting divorced because he wanted to move to New York City and I didn’t.

    A few months after D-day, I called her and simply told her the real reason I was divorcing her son…. I had found out he’s been using prostitutes during his lunch hour for years.

    Her reaction? She said “I don’t want to hear this“. And she hung up. I spent 20 years with this family. I endured every Christmas, Went shopping for their birthdays, was asked by his mom repeatedly to call her mom. For 20 years I thought I was part of this family, and in one second I was shut out.

    Fuck her. I never liked her anyway.

  • The Dickhead once said we are family of cheaters, himself includes. Unfortunately, we were already long married by then or I would have run for the hills.

    In situations like this, establish hard boundaries and do not compromise them. The sooner the in-laws know that you are done with them, the better.

  • She condoning his behaviour. she’s emotionally trying to blackmail you. How was she before you found out you ex cheated on you. How did she treat you. Some mil can find no wrong in their sons. Incidentally how does her husband treat her, is she a quite dominant personality.
    She might be trying to protect herself, this situation will make her look bad, she might be trying to save face. Don’t take any crap of her.

    • My future MIL had told me “Douchecanoe was a perfect son.” I thought she was joking and married the narc anyway instead of running for the hills.

  • My MIL actually called me to tell me I could have avoided his cheating if “I would have loved him more.” My response, “It’s hard to show love to a guy who’s always out banging other women.”

    But I did take him back, chumpy me. Ten years later, he was banging his GF right before our 20th anniversary. There wasn’t enough love, therapy or good looks that could have kept him from banging other women, he’s a cheater and always will be.

  • This is the first time I’ve been glad my darling MIL is stone cold dead in her grave for five years. I adored that woman. She was the kind of mother I never had. She would have been heart broken by her cheating son. Her husband had another family while married to her. I didn’t know about that until I’d been married ten years. I can tell you for sure she would have pulled this shit. Mothers and their narc sons, a match made in hell. You do not have to be nice to anyone who treats you like this. Figuratively kill them all, leave them dead on the floor, anyone not on Team Me is dead to me. Works for me.

  • I think narcissism does run in families, but I don’t know if it is nature or nurture. I never had a close relationship with a MIL, but neither did their children. Perhaps if you grow up in a home where it is all about appearances, and there is no accountability, that is the norm, but maybe they are missing an empathy gene. I don’t know, but the bottom line is don’t expect sympathy or support from a pack of hungry beasts. They want all the kibbles, and don’t believe you should have any.

    Mediation, or settlements that are all about the children do not result in you getting nothing, and the cheater getting everything. It means the more stable parent gets primary custody, and you disrupt the children’s lives as little as possible. It means child support and child expenses are set in amounts that best take care of the needs of the children. If you love your children you don’t use them as pawns in some sick chess game.

    You don’t have to talk to your soon to be former MIL or FIL. Your lawyer can talk divorce details with your spouse. You need to tend to your own wounds, and find some way to comfort the children because they feel stress and do not like change. No one is supposed to get rich in a divorce — a household is split and the edges are often jagged. Maybe we should have to have a prenup in addition to a marriage license, but that is a cultural change and not very romantic. It’s hard to think about splitting up when you are in love, but marital law varies wildly between states, and nothing seems fair. Don’t make binding decisions when you are in a state of grief and despair.

    Most families do not want to hear bad truths about their members, they think it reflects badly on them. There are always a few ghouls around who want all the nasty details. It is best to keep your composure and say nothing to anyone until you feel you can tell your truth in a way which doesn’t rip the stiches out of your healing wounds, and which doesn’t make you look like a raving lunatic. It is hard. Look for support from people who demonstrate their support for you. Some friends dry your tears and put you in the shower, and take care of the children, or go to the grocery, or cook a meal for you. They help you find your new normal. That is the type of care you need. I hope some one in your life can provide that for you, whether or not they are related to you in any way. .

    • I have been thinking a lot about ex in-laws. Only 14 weeks since DDay. His parents passed away before DDay but I was/am very close with 2 of his sisters. I guess I am lucky as one sister (we have always been closer than my ex & her) has been an absolute rock for me. She calls to check in, listens when the tears flow or the rage flies, talks books & holidays & gardening when I don’t want to remember any of it. She was a chump herself & totally gets all of the roller coaster. She has very limited contact with him (sale of their parents property). Apart from CL & CN she is the only person who has really understood this turmoil & pain. I totally agree that some people will just be looking to get whatever dirty details they can & it may come back to bite but occasionally there are angels that literally hold you afloat so that you don’t drown in the sea of tears & hurt. I suppose it is a matter of being careful on who & more importantly why you still have contact when it comes to ex in-laws

    • I do know a family that had a narc mom and the 3 kids, two boys and one girl all have strong narcissistic traits not sure if they are full blown narcs. They all worshiped and still worship the mother. The father was rather quiet so couldn’t tell if he was sane/normal or not….but he died years ago from cancer. One thing, these siblings were always very tight, still are, though they do not live near one another. Most times with narc parents they tend to want to divide the children or pit them against one another so this is a little different. All have been somewhat successful career wise, but personal lives not so much. All tend to have anger issues. Oh and they all have the kiss up kick down mentality.

      • Kids learn from their parents: how to triangulate, manipulate, and use people to gain advantages.

  • Yes! These people really do blow your mind! Mind fuck really is the best term to describe to hell you’re forced to process!

    MIL wanted my kids to be “happy” for their dad that suddenly and unexpectedly walked out on his family and 20+ year marriage for OW (who is just as sick as him). The life-changing trauma to his own family, his lack of integrity and his horrible example of, and the consequences of, his emotional and psychological domestic abuse mattered not. Pathological behaviour gave HIM JOY!

    Stbx has just carried on the family tradition…cue up the Jenny Owens song “Fuck Was I”.

    • This^ “pathological behaviour gave him joy”.

      Cheaters, liars, deceivers, gas lighters, non respecting, no empathy, child abandoning, cowardly, non communicative, whore juggling, is not normal!

      Who gains happiness from being abusive?!

  • Sigh! This letter hurts my heart. My son became the ass who cheated on his wife. He swears he did not have physical affair, that she is soo jealous, she assumed he was cheating. He moved affair partner in his new place as soon as he moved out of home. I support my DIL she is a very good person, mom and DIL. Financials, emotionally, I have helped her. She did nothing wrong. The entire family are shocked he did this. He was very well respected in our large family. I run the narrative. They say something to make an excuse for him, I shut that shit down. He did this, she is the victim. He was the very last person anyone thought would harm his family. He watched his father treat me like shit, I stayed, so I feel guilty. I stayed for the children, when I should have left for the children. I love my son, I will always love my son. So I refuse to have slut at any event, I will never accept the slut. I’m old and much wiser. I have seen who she is and don’t want her in my life. That being said my heart is heavy, I loved their little family.

    • {{{HUGS}}} Hcard, My sister’s MIL took the same stand and stood beside her and helped her when her EX left her for a married divorce lawyer. (that was ugly) Now he will have nothing to do with her. But let me tell you, my whole family has embraced her and loves her very much. She just moved to be close to my sister and kids and has become a very good friend of mine and the extended family. She loves my sister like a daughter.

      She was a Chump 30 years ago and to see her son do this to another woman broke her heart but she never blamed my sister. I know that it was a hard stand to take against a son you love but I admire your values and heart in giving your DIL love when she needed it most.

      Your grand kids are blessed to have you.

    • “I love my son, I will always love my son.”

      As you should and you DO when you made it clear to him that cheating on your spouse is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

      Hugs to you – because it hurts to see your kid(s) hurt others so callously. That’s on him.

    • Also sending you hugs. I am in a boat that is somewhat similar. My son and my daughter-in-law divorced a few years ago. While there were issues between them, the biggest one was his alcoholism. Then he went to treatment and got sober and was doing well. I stayed in touch with my daughter-in-law, sent her money and tried to be the best friend I could. Sadly, my daughter-in-law passed away last June and the kids went to her cousin who tried to bar my son from any contact. I felt that he deserved another chance as he was doing everything right, at that point. We went to court and my son was given visitation. Yes I helped him with his lawyer.

      The cousin doesn’t like me, understandably, so the only way to see my granddaughters is to see them when my son sees them.

      Fast forward to December. My son decided to drink, and lie about it. I found out, and told him while I love him with all my heart, there was no way I would support his taking custody of his daughters at that point because no kid deserves a drunk for a father. Moreover, I wasn’t going to help with any money because I wasn’t going to help him kill himself.

      You can guess the outcome. He refuses to answer my calls. I can’t see my granddaughters and basically I am screwed. I love him, but I refuse to enable him. The whole thing makes me incredibly sad, but it his right to destroy his life if he decides to. On the other hand, he has no right to destroy his daughter’s lives. I told him that. He knows I don’t pull my punches when it come to telling the truth. Not with him, not with myself, not with anyone.

      So here I am. No family left, I am alone in the world, my greatest fear. I have had to face that my son is addicted, unable to adult, and sees me as a mom appliance only. It been tough to accept it and move forward. Luckily I have family of the heart who have my back as I have theirs.

      I won’t back down on my refusal to enable or be used by anyone ……even my kid. I told my son he will always have my ear, and I will buy him a meal, but that’s it.

      Sometimes standing up for what’s right costs you.

        • Thanks for the support. If I had not found CL and CN soon after she started this blog, I would be spackling both sides, trying to fix it. Dancing to make everyone happy. I’m clear now, we are each responsible for our actions or in-actions. To quote Mya Angelou, I know better now, so I do better. I just wish it wasn’t soo hard.
          Maybe this can be a topic, what happens when you’ve stayed too long and your children emulate your cheater.

          • Imho, both you (Hcard) & Tassie deserve Mother Of the Year Awards! Standing up against your own son’s like that, because they were very wrong, has to be a hard thing to do.

            It’s so very admirable that you both confronted your sons & stood up for what’s right. Not to do so would have just enabled them. Even if you had told them they were wrong bit didn’t follow that up with action & boundries, they wouldn’t of gotten it.

            If you hadn’t, it would be the same as condoning their actions, especially in the eyes of their spouses and children. Parenting never really ends. You both did the ultimate parental sacrafice for the sake of what’s right. TOUGH LOVE INDEED! How else are things going to change for the better in our society if people don’t stand up for what’s right?

            They still.may never truly get it. But if there is any chance at all, it’s going to come from their mother’s actions and disgust with what they did. How else are things ever going to change for the better in our society if people don’t stand up for what’s right!

            I greatly envy your daughter-in-law Hcard. She is so very lucky to have a mil like you! As are your grandchildren lucky. You have taught them that cheating is abuse & is not ok. You have taught them to set boundries and not let anyone treat them that bad. You have taught them to stand up for what’s right. Though I’m sure it’s very painful losing a relationship with your son, you have done far more good for your dil & the future lives of your grandchildren. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

    • Wow, I wish you’d been my MIL. You are an amazing woman of character and moral fiber. I have had the thought that I love my son, but if he ever does this to someone I just couldn’t do what my MIL did to me. You are that person I would strive to be in that situation.

      Thank you for this note and thank you for being you Hcard. The world needs more women like you.

    • Thank you for doing this for her. I wish my ex MIL was like you. You are a good, good woman. Ste

  • A few days after D-Day, my father-in-law texted to ask if he could call me. I said yes. His voice was shaking on the phone and he said he hoped my female cheater and I could work it out. He said he had been through it too and knew what it was like. He said he would be happy to offer any support that I needed. He has only ever been with my cheater’s mother as far as a relationship. So, her mother cheated on her father and they stayed together. I don’t think she knew that before all this, but maybe.

    Soon after I learned my cheater’s parents were giving her a big down payment for a new house. My cheater is a cake-eater (instead of a discarder) and thinks I’m a monster for divorcing her over “a mistake” that was really my fault because of “my contribution to problems in the marriage.” So, I know I’m the villain in that family for divorcing her. It’s so gross.

  • Number 1: time to discard your stbx MIL. Ignore all phone calls/e-mails/texts. You have no reason to be in touch with her and besides anything you say will be twisted and used against you. Number 2: retain a kick ass balls to the wall lawyer. No Ms Nice Guy and do not listen to his or MIL sob stories. Not your problem. Number 3: You are now a single parent, not fair, correct. However, you can totally waste time trying to get your stbx to step up to the plate, not healthy for you or the kids or you can just accept the fact he is disordered and it will be far better to raise the kids on your terms. Never give their father or grandmother the opportunity to treat them as second class citizens or make them feel less than….because they will attempt to do so. Count on it. The kids will look to you for their cue…….indifference is a start and when they are old enough to comprehend let them know in a nice way you are sorry their Dad and his family are such losers. I have witnessed far too many children in divorce pining for their Dad’s attention, ever so grateful for scraps and always feeling that they will never measure up. Your kids are young enough where you can cut this shit off at the pass.

  • My ex-MIL was a lonely divorced woman for 20 years who saw her son as her substitute-husband. She worshipped the ground he walked on, called him every day and asked him for advice on everything she did. She unconditionally supported every crazy idea he came up with and would accuse me of being a bad wife for not immediately jumping after every one of his whims as though I had no needs or concerns of my own, such as the financial future of our children. I was married for twenty years. The moment my now-ex starting cheating with the au pair, my MIL dropped me like a hot potato and decided she *loved* shmoopie the au pair. MIL not only knew about the cheating, she helped keep it a secret for several years. During wreconcile week she even broke into our house and tried to drag my ex to shmoopie waiting downstairs. She knew of shmoopie’s other affairs with married men, and didn’t care. MIL even wrote shmoopie a letter pleading with shmoopie to marry my husband, not the 80 yr old neighbor shmoopie had been planning to marry and fleece. Meanwhile she kept telling the whole family behind my back that I’m a selfish horrible person and don’t properly love the children! She supported her son’s cheating to the hilt despite the fact that she had spent the last 20 years a miserable wreck because her own husband cheated on her. I know that losing this crazy family is winning, but it’s still hard not to feel bitter and astounded at this behavior. Of course the craziness sneaks up gradually and only goes nuts at the end when you’ve already invested the 20 years.

    • Of course you’re bitter. You have every right to be. That woman is a monster. Worst MIL story I’ve ever heard. I’m so sorry she did that to you.
      The creepy husband-like dependency she has on your ex is called emotional incest. Getting involved in his extramarital sex life is part of that. Sickos, the both of them.

  • Same thing here. After D-Day, my in laws never reached out to me. I finally wrote them an email telling them how upset I was, but assuring them I wished them no ill-will and was thankful for all they had done for me, and telling them I loved them. My mother in law wrote back: “We are thinking of you too, only loving thoughts.” Like wtf?!? What other kinds of thoughts would you have? I’m not the one who had an affair and broke up the marriage! Then she proceeded to ramble on about her and her husband’s health problems for the rest of the email. No wonder they raised such a narcissist.

    They also bought my husband a new car right after he left me and bankrolled him renting a nice apartment.

    I was devastated at the loss of this family, but am coming around to the idea that if they think that this is normal or acceptable behavior, then they’re not the kind of family I want.

    • Exactly. Good riddance. I will never have anything to do with his crazy family again and it’s awesome.
      Emailing was a waste of time. They showed you who they were- awful people who don’t give a shit about you. We’re inconvenient to them because we’re a reminder of their dysfunction. Cheaters don’t come out of healthy families and on some level they know how fucked up they are.

  • Do NOT cave to sharing even one iota of your pain and anguish with her! She will use it against you and frankly she has already shown you who she is and that she doesn’t care about you. BELIEVE HER!
    Also, spoiler alert, it’s NOT, I repeat NOT about the kids. It is about her spoiled entitled peacock that needs his mommy to run interference now for him.
    It IS about the kids AND YOU regarding how you move forward. I got in the mud here with my experience. I let the hurt take its toll on my spirit and went into an awful depression which affected my kids. I wish with all my being that I could go back and get help from day one with how to parent through pain without sharing that pain with the children. That’s what I wish for you and your kids. Find help, professional help, to guide you out of the abyss immediately.
    When you refuse to stay in the abyss even another moment (sure for a minute you are still going to be angry and hurt and betrayed and probably walk around some like your skin has been pulled off and you can feel literally everything intensely) you will be the winner in life here.
    So I hope you do something today to get that started.
    Side note…immediately make appointments with all of the best bulldog lawyers (he can’t lawyer up with anyone you’ve visited even if you don’t go with them). Let the lawyer you DO go with decide if mediation is the best route to protect you and your children financially and emotionally through this chapter. I can tell you that because I had a peacock too and you DONT KNOW where all the money is and where it has been spent. Your attorney can get you in touch with a forensic accountant. You will be amazed at what was happening when you and your children were doing without. Don’t let that continue when determining settlements and child support.

    No mother in law help here but…you’ve got this girl!

    *My peacock cheated 2003-4 and I thought I could reshape him into a unicorn…he didn’t even volunteer. Sure when I looked at him his horn was a little askew but I’d straighten it or just let it slide because…the unicorn…. 2018 I found out that damn horn was a headband that he took off when he left the house and frankly, if I’m being honest, didn’t always even wear it around me. He’s still a peacock but I don’t care where it when or with whom he struts.

    • Parenting through the pain is definately difficult, especially during the early days following DD. That doesn’t seem to get talked about much.

      Hahaha to your last paragraph! “…I found out that damn horn was a headband…”. Lmao

  • One word for you, LW: “liar.” Just repeat it to yourself whenever she speaks.

    Her: “It’s about the kids.”
    You (mentally): “Liar.” It’s about guilting you into doing what she wants.

    Her: “Blabity blah you need to be nicer about things.”
    You (mentally): Liar

    You don’t even have to waste the brain space into figuring out what her true motivation is. Sometimes it’ll be guilting you in order to get something she wants from you, sometimes it’ll be about spackling her own mental image as Not A Bad Mother Who Raised A Shit Son, sometimes it’ll be about insuring that her reputation is Not A Bad Mother Who Raised A Shit Son, and sometimes it’ll be about whatever the pixies in her head are telling her.

    It doesn’t matter. If her lips are moving, she’s got her own agenda for what she’s telling you. Just think ‘liar’ to yourself, and disregard it wholesale. She ain’t your MIL no more!

    • I use that technique any time my tired brain tries to remember the good times with Dr. Psychopath. I immediate replace the thought by saying “pervert” out loud. Labeling him a pervert, who’s also a professional fraud and pathological liar, keeps me from missing him.

  • Hell no you don’t have to continue to have contact with the in-laws, ‘for the children’!

    From now on, the in-laws want to see the grandkids? It’s on Fuckwit’s custodial or visitation time. Fuckwit isn’t taking the kids? Too bad so sad, guess they won’t see them.

    There’s a kid birthday? Excellent, you will celebrate with YOUR family and YOUR friends and YOUR neighbours and YOUR child’s classmates. Fuckwit would like to celebrate too? And Fuckwit’s family? They can celebrate at the party that Fuckwit will organize, on Fuckwit’s time with the kids. Fuckwit doesn’t organize anything? They can take that up w/Fuckwit.

    I figure the only time you’d actually have to see these people (I’m using that term loosely) is at important kid occasions that are public, such as grad or a wedding. Those are a fair ways away, and even then you get to say a polite ‘hi!’ to the whole Fuckwit gang of them, and then go sit somewhere far from them and never exchange another word or glance.

    Just like their parents, kids need their extended family – ONLY when that family and those parents aren’t abusive, manipulative assholes. Look up ‘parallel parenting’ because that’s clearly what you’re going to be doing.

    And the whole ‘how can she do this?’ part, the composing of mental e-mails? This will pass, I promise. You will gradually start to see Fuckwit and his family (and all sorts of other selfish, manipulative people) clearly, and no longer seek explanations or justice. They are what they are, nothing will change that, and we eventually stop expecting them to act like reasonable human beings. It does take time, though, so be gentle with yourself!

  • The narrative my husband shops around and that all my inlaws have bought is that our “sexless” (not true) marriage forced him into a long-term hooker habit. It is true that for awhile sex had dropped to every couple of weeks, but everyone in my husband’s circle has chosen to forget that while my husband was unemployed and sitting at home bored and angry about reduced frequency of sex, I was working like a dog at my job and also taking care of our young daughter. I barely had time to comb my hair while he was taking naps and watching TV each day. Fuck them.

    Regarding mediation, get yourself a whip smart consulting attorney. We are doing mediation, and my husband, who has an MBA and has totally controlled our finances our 13-year marriage, gave me a single page printout where he had divied up everything (with him taking the lion’s share) and assumed I would go along with this. I found a super smart, hardcore female attorney who took one look at that and said “Fuck him. This is bullshit.” He is also trying to get compensated for the fact he will no longer be on my medical plan. To which my lawyer said, “Fuck him. If he wanted medical benefits, he should have kept his dick in his pants.” I love her and it feels good to have someone who is super smart and tough on my side.

    My d-day was 3 days before last Christmas. The last couple of months have been painful, but I am starting to feel better and you will too, eventually. It especially hurt that he isn’t very remorseful and part of me was secretly hoping that he would have some kind of epiphany and finally be sorry for everything he’s done. But I’ve been around him a few times recently for daughter activities and was reminded what a jerk he often is to her and how he always wants to be the center of everything, and I have started feeling a sense of relief of not being with him. Getting only 50% custody was crushing, but the time I have with my daughter is much more peaceful and joyful without him around. He is a pretty negative person with a fixed mindset and I always found that to be a real downer. I can tell that eventually life will be much more enjoyable without him. I bet it will be for you too.

    • Classic! You were married to a cliche! Asshole feels entitled to not work and to sit around on the couch while you work your ass off. And you were supposed to worship that behavior. You were supposed to be on your knees at his lap while he sat on the couch. He knew you didn’t need him so he chose to have a hooker pretend to worship him. He is a vacuous, entitled, angry piece of shit. You are so much better off! He will always be angry and bitter at everyone else for his failures. He is a victim. Hookers make him feel like a big man, but YOU with your work ethic and loyalty are a reminder of what he really is. This is what I told my ex as well. The needy whore that he took off with made him feel like a man. But he knows what he is and I was a reminder of that.

      • This is exactly right – they need someone to worship them so instead of behaving like somebody worth worshipping they pay somebody else.

        • Douchecanoe thought he was getting someone to worship him. Instead he got a controlling woman he has to continually appease for fear she’ll treat him like she treated her first husband.

  • Dear OTCT

    I know this is a re run so i hope you come back and tell us how you are now .

    I have never seen or heard from any of my in laws since D Day – i was just replaced and not one of them seems to have batted an eye lid at this


    Not having to deal with that bunch of stuck up arseholes is the single best thing to ever come from my divorce .
    I will never have to do anything for any of them ever ever again and it is utter bliss .
    They would look down their noses at me and my family like we shat in their cornflakes !!

    They are a bunch of stuck up fucktards and i am so grateful to be away from them .

    I hope you are now too . I hope you can give us an update

  • Please let this Friday’s challenge be who has the worst “my cheating son is awesome mother in law nightmare“ story.
    I can only assume there will be many entries.

  • My FW’s mother sent mixed messages. She actually told him on several occasions that what he did was wrong, but that she still supports him. I guess that means she supports him against me. She never once contacted me or even asked him how I’m doing or how my kids and grandkids are doing. Nobody in the family has so much as mentioned us at family gatherings or to the FW. It’s like we no longer exist to them. They are almost all narcs or BPD in my estimation, and many of them are cheaters. Apple, tree, yada yada.

  • She doesn’t have real feelings for you. She does and say what she knows she is supposed to, and sounds like she does a good job. It does not make her a bad person but you need to understand there is no real underlying emotions there. If you understand this it will help you decipher her behavior.

  • My Ex-Mother in-law is dead she would have been devastated to know how her kids turned out. My ex sister in law is a covert narc., cheated on 1st husband multiple times before he left, has been in a mental hospital, is the wolf walking around like a sheep. My ex is a malignant narc. not sure he isn’t worse than the devil. My ex father in laws words the only 2 times I have contacted him in 3 years is “It’s So Sad”. Yet he paid for Ex’s attorney fees and all ex’s bills for 2 1/2 years so he could try to make sure I ended up with nothing. I have learned to look at actions and not words. My ex father in laws words meant nothing. My ex-step mother in law thinks if she acts like she doesn’t know what happened then it didn’t. I am no contact as this is the only way to go with Ex-family. When this all started everyone said ” you keep your family and he keeps his”. I am the lucky one! My family let me and kids sleep at their houses and fed us – when police advised me to leave because of ex’s hostile behavior. 3 years ago I was a stay at home mom- with family support and love me and my kids are thriving. My ex’s family at war and always will be. Just for a laugh ” When my ex’s mother passed her children fought over salt, hot sauce and even her clothing”. This should have been a Huge Red Flag but I was young. Leave ex in-laws in the same place you leave your ex, out of your life.

  • I told my XMIL that he was cheating and she told me he did not mean to do it! She stopped speaking to me the day I threw him out. I was in the family for 32 years I have two boys, but she opened her arms to the X new wife like I was not even a speck on her radar. We saw each other at my DIL baby shower and she came up to me and said “newme, how are you”? I looked at her and said fabulous, and walked away. As a mother of two boys, I hope to God they don’t do what there father did, but he was the role model and I was the one that begged him to stay, until I didn’t. Now he is married to his whore and both my boys don’t have a great relationship with him because they both said he puts her kids over them. Which is a shame.

  • My mil texted me out of the blue 4 months after DDay blowing up at me claiming I never loved her daughter, and that I had been abusing her daughter without knowing I was. This was after being no contact with my now ex-wife for those four months too. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree it seems. Next time I’m ensuring the parents are both sane before I commit.

  • My ex-in-laws told me to divorce her because my XW was always selfish. BUT I knew who they were. They protected and helped their Pedophile son (he eventually went to jail). So when I filed for divorce I called them up and told them “this will be the last time we will talk”. I knew they would side with their daughter, which they did. They believed the smear campaign. It was very painful after 24 years married. Blood is thicker then water. When you accept this you can move on. I sorry you went through this. I hope you moved on.

  • Kinda similar situation in my case, an ex sil (his mother has kust recently passed away) when I told her he fist comments were “how much shock she was in”, “there are two sides to every story” and wherever there was conflict he response was “all this is hurting me so much”.

    I guess I never realised how self involved she was and very possibly a narc like her brother. Image management was also her middle name so im sure my name is a stain on the wall in their house

  • After d day my mil was my staunchest supporter and did things like make me lunch do an occasional load of laundry for me and bring me to mass with her. For that I’m truly greatful. My fil was a serial cheater as was my sil. I found out many years later that my bil was not my fil’s biological son. Mil evened the score I guess, she even named him Jr. Towards the end of her life she admitted her tryst and bil’s liniage but was remorseful til the end. I’m seriously confused but in some ways I understand. Nothing in that family dynamic was right, I found out the hard way. But in retrospect I guess her remorse and experience was a juxtaposed comfort to me when I needed comforting. I had a cousin….. We no longer speak because of his actions, who took great delight in defoliating local teenaged babysitters. What despicable piece of ratshit! His mom (my dear aunt) defended him against his wife once it was out in the open, spent her life savings trying to keep him out of jail, begged his wife not to divorce him, and spent untold amounts of other people’s money to try to keep him off the child sex offender registry. Her fair haired boy can still do no wrong. Enabling and entitling are not character builders

  • Both my FIL and MIL (separate texts) quoted something they picked up in AA/Alanon. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow’s a mystery. Today is a gift.”.

    I think my FIL also mentioned a piece of the serenity prayer which referenced that “I should accept the things I cannot change”.

    At the time I didn’t know what was going on but looking back at the communication they were well prepared for my XW to drop this bomb on me as I was putting my mother and brother into intensive care.

    I don’t think they knew their daughter was cheating at the time. I think they were pretty upset when they realized what was going on. Regardless, 1.5 years in and they get together for Christmas and watch his dog for him. The 20+ years I knew them, everything I did for them and with them seemed to vanish overnight.

    If only I could go back in time with the knowledge I have now! I would see through all their BS and my Swiss friends. At the time I was so traumatized I didn’t understand what their actions and words meant. My FIL won’t even say hello to me unless their are people around (image management much) which used to bother me, now I find it a little amusing.

  • Wait. What? Did I write this letter???

    Where do I begin???

    I’m no contact with the toxic in laws now but at first I tried passing the baton of despair to them when I worked out he was living his many double lives from the family business.

    She said to me: Well, he’ll get the children won’t he seeing as he’s the primary carer!

    I said: wait, what?

    Then I heard all about the parenting he was doing when he was meant to be working.

    I quickly informed her he’d only just started taking our son to football after school (so finishing work early) one afternoon a week 2 months prior, she shut up pretty quickly then, and wouldn’t list out the parenting he’d been allegedly doing instead of working.

    Note this is the golden child son (well the one who hadn’t just come out of prison for 3 years on meth and firearms charges and costed them hundreds of thousands in lawyers fees, who I actually believe, according to my lying ex, WAS the golden child, but he wasn’t the one running the family business, into the ground). She gave no shits when I informed her of my exes meth habit or the clandestine meth lab stashed under their house. She gave no shits about my children being used as an ongoing lie to enable his raging entitled behaviour at work and home (yeah high staff turnover is a problem too, but that’s the workers fault not theirs).

    I read early on that NPD generally points back to the mother (always the women’s fault).

    While I have issues with this theory, I did see some sense in it, in my dad as well as my ex. But the women I was templating here were more than anything, abused women.

    My ex FIL was a wife beater drunk, but very high up in the Masons. He hasn’t talked to me since D Day, except to shout in the background while I talked to his wife “that’s what she says, there’s 2 sides here.”

    My exes Hoover move was a set of nice underwear and dinner out. That’s what I got after his psychological beatings anyway.

    He’d always told me his dad taught him to buy underwear and take her out to dinner. Sadly this is as far as his love language went (oh and sex, because sex equals love and if I didn’t have sex with him I didn’t love him, so marital rape by coercion for years).

    What I can gather is this: MIL and sons would get a beating, FIL disappears to pub, MIL seeks comfort from sons and they all protect each other. This was told to me by the ex.

    What I think happened then was FIL and MIL in love and loved up next day, after underwear, jewellery and followed by dinner out. Sons left at home to look after themselves. Confused AF. Dad won again, and we lost.

    How fucking confusing would this have been?? No wonder he became a full blown Cluster B!

    When I told her what I subsequently discovered about her sons double lives a couple of months after D Day, who was the bad guy?

    Yep, me. Because my daughter walked in and heard part of it (I stopped talking as soon as she walked in). That drama and blameshifting went for months from my ex. She gave him the gift of me being the bad guy. I haven’t talked to her since. May they rot in hell.

    Note she doesn’t get kicked or punched anymore but gets a dozen overseas holidays a year to make up for the nitpicking and maid status she lives with. Yes even with their business going under (go figure, my accountant calls it tax avoidance).

    Not a role model I want in my life, or my kids. Their love language is gifts and they give big to my kids. I’m working hard at teaching my kids that love is being present, supportive, kind, honest, and fair. It’s not gifts. It’s not constant arguing. It’s a battle I’m not sure I’ll win but it’s all I have. Right side of history and all that.

    • Forgot to add, ex is an Autogynophile who gets off on wearing women’s underwear while being fucked up the arse by strap ons. He has big mummy issues which I’ve worked out trying to unpack that rapey part of my marriage. Yep, I felt raped being coerced into penetrating him! Go figure.

      He stole a load of my underwear after I kicked him out. He gave some to his OW (I got some back when she connected the dots) but kept a whole lot for himself too.

      Underwear completely defines his fucked upness. He felt justified in taking it. Because I had thrown it out. I hadn’t. And seriously, taking it out of the trash and gifting it as new is creepier than taking it from my drawers you fucking creep.

      • Used underwear or lingerie as a gift ?! (Retching)

        I grew up in New Jersey and the law was underpants are final sale-no returns or exchanges.

    • In my state, any real estate where there’s been a meth lab is unsellable. Spread the word to any realtors you know.

  • Xxx

    My STBXW’s are just about the weirdest collection of misfits I’ve ever met. My FIL, who is a highly intelligent academic in his eighties, has had literally hundreds of affairs over the years. He doesn’t even bother to conceal them. Five or six years ago we even discovered that he had a secret family, which he had been maintaining for decades. Even my narcissistic wife was a little shocked to discover that she had a 30-year-old step-sister. Furthermore, I’ll never forget my FIL’s first words that he said to me when we were alone: ‘So,’ he said.”You like women with big tits?”. His daughter, I should explain, is notably well-endowed in that department. I was understandably flabbergasted by what he said.

    My MIL, who has been with my FIL since she was 16, is in her seventies and constantly – and I really do mean constantly – talks about her husband. Every fucking sentence is about him. She knows all about his numerous affairs and admits to not having had sex with him for more than a decade yet she refuses to leave him. Once a good-looking woman, she is now a physical and mental wreck. Since finding out about narcissism I would actually say that she is suffering from Narcissistic Victim Syndrome.

    My brother-in-law is another oddball. In his fifties and still quite attractive, he has a degree in history but has never had a job in his life. Nor has he ever had a relationship with a woman, although he freely admits to masturbating frequently over pictures of them. He has a medical condition known as Chronic Pain Syndrome which means that if he uses any part of his body – his legs, his arms, his mouth, his ears, anything – he sufferers localised pain. This has prevented him from ever working. Instead he spends his life jumping to attention whenever my FIL or my STBXW snaps their fingers. I would also categorise him as suffering from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.

    As for my STBXW, she, I now realise, is a text book somatic narcissist. I can’t even begin to explain the abject weirdness she exhibited in the 18 years that we were together. That’s an entirely different and infinitely more lengthy post.

    The whole clan seem to live in each other’s pockets. On almost every holiday that my wife and I ever went on it was understood that the rest of the family were also coming along for the ride whether I liked it or not. We hardly ever had a holiday alone. You may laugh, but she even brought them along on your honeymoon! In addition to this I was expected to tag along whenever my STBX wife decided to pay three a visit. This was invariably 7 or 8 times a year for weeks on end. I’ve never know a family like it. It was like they were joined at the hip. They were literally ascloseasthis. It was pure craziness.

    Unfortunately, my daughter and I have, I believe, covertly suffered at the hands of my narcissistic STBXW and her equally narcissistic father. Five or six years ago my daughter developed an eating disorder and began self-harming. This culminated in two separate suicide attempts. At the time I simply could not understand what had caused these mental issues. From my point of view I had always endeavoured to ensure that my daughter had the happiest childhood that she possibly could have. At the risk of sounding like a broken record I also suspect that she is yet another victim of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.

    As for myself: After 6 or 7 years with my STBX I began to develop a raft of mental and physical ailments. As well as depression, I developed an auto-immune disease, a thyroid problem, a heart condition, Stage Two Hypertension, chronic insomnia, muscle problems and skin problems, By the time that I finally chanced upon my STBXW’s secret double life of affairs, lies and lovers I was a physical and mental wreck: overweight , depressed, bereft of any self-confidence and practically unable to work.

    The really strange thing is that a couple of months after leaving my STBXW I joined a new medical practice and had pretty extensive tests done. Turns out that in that short time I no longer had a heart problem, my blood pressure had returned to normal, I had shed 40lbs and was now the perfect weight for my height and age. Moreover, my thyroid meds actually had to be reduced – this is usually impossible with a degenerative condition such as hypothyroidism. And yet somehow I now longer needed as much medication as previously.

    Do I put the unexpected upsurge in my health down to no longer being in the close proximity of my wife? It’s easy to jump to such a conclusion but it’s also fairly impossible to prove it. Am I, too, another victim of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome? Again, I’ll never really know. The fact is, however, that the only two healthy members in that crazy dysfunctional family are very probably undiagnosed narcissists. MY FIL could easily pass for 20 years younger than she is and still runs every day. MY STBXW also looks at least 10 years younger than she is and has a better looking body than most women 20 years her junior. The rest of the family – including my former self AND my daughter – have a raft of physical and mental issues.

    I suppose the question is: how did I never notice all of this? It’s not easy to find an answer other than over time I became normalised to all the weirdness. Before leaving my STBXW I had never really heard of narcissism. Needless to say, however, that once I began voraciously educating myself about the subject the pennies began to drop in a clattering avalanche of rattling metal.

    Sorry for the long post. I’m undergoing mediation with her tomorrow and this post was a huge trigger for me.

    • Sorry that opening paragraph should have read: ‘My STBXW’s family are just about the weirdest collection…’

    • Well the body never lies, does it ? I’m glad you’re extricating yourself from this family and getting on the path to wellness.

      I can think of too many examples of people married to abusers who end up with serious physical and mental health issues. Breast cancer, fibromyalgia, depression, ptsd, eating disorders,etc. And thank you as a male chump for sharing your own story.

      I had to laugh at some of bizarre behaviors exhibited by your ex-in laws. The academic who likes to keep things classy by making such a vulgar, indirect comment about his own daughter’s bustline. Oh boy. And the b.i.l. who is disabled with “chronic pain syndrome” yet is such a wanker.

      Good luck with mediation.

    • Back to reality, you may have already considered it, and I apologize if this seems an inappropriate comment, but please check in with your daughter that she was never inappropriately approached by your father in law. Men like him, my father included, are terrible when it comes to boundaries and don’t tend to let things like familial bonds stop them from some of their behaviors.

      • I have checked – as sensitively as is possible. I’m sure he hasn’t touched her. However, I do know there is a strong possibility that he may have had sex with at least one underage girl.

        He has also apparently exposed himself to my MIL’s (even crazier) younger sister. He was also once caught in the street talking about his ‘dick’ to a couple of young teenage girls.

        University lecturers, eh?

    • Back To Reality,

      What you describe with being joint at the hip, is exactly the experience I had.
      Not one holiday just with my now ex. Always and only on spouse duty together with the in-laws, to include all the siblings. Absolute rigidity in ways. One felt one couldn’t even suggest something different.
      They push you in a role. Spontaneity is abhorred. One is nullified. The dysfunctional family exists only as a cluster. Moves en mass. No individuality allowed.
      These families use fear, guilt, obligation and shame among one another, to keep people in place. One is under constant threat and intimidation. Submission is demanded. Most of it happens covertly.
      I was discarded. Luckily, no children.
      I had not known of Narcissism either. When I started reading, I understood. I lived that in my family of origin as well. I understood that some family members had been so oppressed by the abusive treatment that they died. They were killed off by the narcs.
      Your description above provided validation for my experience. I thank you for posting those details.
      I hope you’ll still see this reply of mine, despite my posting later, so that it can come as validation to you and your daughter.

  • OTCT—- been there. Go no-contact with all of them (STBXH, MIL, all in-laws, Switzerland friends, OW, etc.). The sooner you do the faster you’ll heal. Put ever ounce of fight into getting that divorce. All communications with STBXH through scheduling software (Our Family Wizard, etc.)

    You’ll be happy and peaceful again in about 3-5 years (Sooner if you’re really good at NC and lucky) and so glad you’re free of these freaks. I promise!

  • This is kind of off topic but with everyone recommending lawyers, I have to ask if things are maybe different in the US than it is here in the UK. It is not free to meet with a few lawyers and decide who to go with later. Each of these meetings will cost £300 to £500. I researched firms online because I specifically wanted a firm that could cover multiple jurisdictions since I am in the UK, my husband in Switzerland and his then pregnant AP in Austria. There were only two or three firms that fit the bill and most were focussed on multi-millionaires, not middle class two career families. My solicitor said she couldn’t help me with the multiple jurisdictions and that my husband could give all our money to schmoopie if he wanted and I could do nothing about it. She said I could only divorce him and get a financial court order so I proceeded along that path.

    My solicitor has proceeded to charge me a fortune despite knowing that I have no job, and have been struggling for a couple of years to find one due to being 54 years old despite stellar credentials. Since I always managed our finances and had time on my hands, I prepared a stellar financial disclosure only to be charged £3000 to have her put it in another binder and ask me if I had included TV tax in my monthly needs request. I was also told that the only possible outcome is a 50/50 split. I can calculate this in my sleep. Instead, I get charged a huge amount of money to have my lawyer advise me that I have to sign over my pensions to my husband, move out of my 1400 sq ft house because it is too big even though neither me nor my husband wants to sell it and realise a £200K loss on it. Then she says a judge won’t sign off on an agreement that is too advantageous and has left me with the impression that I should settle for less than the recommended minimum child support that is actually capped at less than a percentage calculation would show.

    I have fired her and will now negotiate my own agreement. My jerk ex-husband treats me far more fairly than my own lawyer does. I am completely fed up and disillusioned that my solicitor seems to want to destroy me and after spending £9000 and getting zero advice tailored to my circumstances. The UK is supposed to be a great place to get a divorce if you want a good settlement but I really don’t understand why it has that reputation. If there is no way to get more than half when you have to raise the kid on your own, I don’t see what the advantage is. I can only assume that they assume that women have nothing, do nothing and get away with something so are getting lucky. I am disillusions and disgusted. Sorry for the rant.

    • Have you ever visited Citizens Advice Bureau? There are quite a lot if online fora with a number of generous lawyers.

    • Hi Wombatmom,
      I was terrified that I would lose half of everything to a twenty month marriage to which I had brought just about everything.
      I was told by lots of solicitors that a judge would not sign off a financial consent order if it were too biased in my favour.
      She agreed (due to guilt I assume – also apparently, according to her brother, that her parents told her they would disown her if she went after the money as well) to a roughly 95/5% split in my favour and signed the financial consent order.
      I couldn’t believe when it was signed off by a judge as being ok. Without being brought in for further questioning either…..
      I would perhaps advise seeing a different solicitor as I reckon I paid approx £6k in fees for the whole divorce, financial settlement etc.
      I’d just like to add that I’d rather have lost the whole lot than go through what she put me through – still a walking wreck with what feels like permanent brain damage from the shock of her actions. But damned if I was going to just sign over half of my life’s work for twenty month’s marriage – that would have added insult to injury…..
      Best of luck.

  • In the case of “Off the Crazy Train,” I think it’s very important to create some very clear boundaries immediately. MIL should not get to have any say in any of this.

    My in-laws were very supportive of me when the infidelity emerged. However, I have seen my MIL pull back. She is not at all condoning the affair. It’s been over two years, and she still will never allow the OW to ever be mentioned. On religious grounds, she will not ever falter on that.

    But, she’s also got mother’s guilt. She was a chaplain before retirement and wants to be understanding. So, she hopes that by being kind and understanding with her son, he will turn from his ways. It’s like she’s is stuck on her own hamster wheel of RIC. And, I know better than to try to say anything negative about him and don’t mention the cheating, and really there is no point in doing so.

    She’s a woman approaching 80. She has a lot of health issues. What her son did caused her tremendous anxiety and shame. It’s not surprising that she just wants peace. It’s just unfortunate that her son is more than happy to lap up whatever money she gives and sympathy she provides. Oh well.

    She continues to be kind to me. I have my in-laws over for dinner every few months. We still exchange small birthday and Christmas gifts. They live 5 minutes from me, so I will check in. They love my kids. And as a good Catholic girl myself, I will always acknowledge them as family and respect them as a daughter.

    However, this is only possible because of boundaries. I don’t talk smack about their son or dwell on the past. They acknowledge that what he did was wrong and extend kindness and support to me. Good enough. My MIL shouldn’t be my person to complain to anyways.

  • OTCT,

    I hear you. I just came back from a short holiday at my in laws in Germany. I feel a responsibility to ensure the my daughter has a relationship with this side of her family and the task falls to me because my 13 year old daughter will not speak to her father. He basically dumped me for his shiny new baby, destroying our family, our security and her trust in people.

    This week taught me a lot. After this stay, my husband is looking like a saint and I certainly know where his narcissism comes from. I planned 3 nights at theirs and another 2 in Hamburg with my daughter. They immediately told me to cancel the hotel and stay with them (I did not do it). Apparently, I owe all my time too them. I was then made to feel bad that my daughter doesn’t speak German. They don’t teach it at her school and my husband left us to work in Switzerland despite my being totally against it. It was his responsibility to teach her, not mine. Then I saw a photo of Cape Town and showed it to her and said isn’t it beautiful? A couple of years ago we paid for my in laws to come there on holiday with us (something I regularly promoted to ensure strong family ties and shared memories). Her answer was a snide “There are a lot of beautiful places in the world.” Now she wants to go to Mallorca with me and my daughter. I have decided that this isn’t going to happen. Why would I after that pathetic barbed comment?

    Then when I tried to get to Hamburg in time to actually see something, she vetoed it and said I could not leave until evening. Luckily she was sick and basically slept the entire time we were there so I left anyway. When I look back to when we announced that my husband was expecting a new baby, her reaction was “No one means to fall in love with a married man and all I can think about is the wormchen (baby).” WTF?!! Then I got 4 hours of blame for being too protective of my daughter who never leaves the house and knows nothing of the world (she is in a dancing boarding school – she moved out at age 11 FFS).

    Eventually, my husband had to tell the rest of the family. I asked if they were glad to be rid of me. He said no, it was a tragedy for our daughter. None of them, including my husband, thinks that I am even remotely and issue or consideration. I am so fed up with this that I am struggling to contain my hostility. I can only say that this trip had led me to peak irritation and I am finally in a position where I only care about me and my daughter.

    Write them off. They will only ever conspire with your husband. Nothing you do will ever be enough or appreciated.

    • I forgot the worst bit of all. They expect me to send my daughter to live with them so she can learn German. I have lost my family, my life, probably my home, my confidence and now I am supposed to had over my daughter. These people don’t give a shit about me. They act nice to manipulate me and try to get hold of my child. I am done with them.

      • I hope you never, ever have any contact with these people. They can write your daughter, send gifts or travel to visit her on their son’s time. You are being too “nice” to them. It’s not your responsibility.

      • I would not, under any circumstances, send a teenage child solo to visit their grandparents (parents of an abuser) in a foreign country.

  • When I made an angry comment about Cheater’s behaviour in the early stages of my discovery, MIL said, “Well, there’s two sides to every story” and that was that. She kept referring to the OW as that person that Cheater was ‘counselling’ as though he’d been looking after her out of the kindness of his heart (granted she did play the dumsel in distress, although that was part of her grift, identifying the type she was dealing with (in this case a white knight rescuer) and playing to his weakness) and it had gone terribly awry through no choice of his own. I’m sure it’s already been said, but her greatest fear as a grandparent was losing access to her grandchildren, for her own selfish reasons, and that is what I see here, she wants access to her grandchildren and is trying to manipulate things as though to bypass your messy emotional state and get onto the orderly part where you and Cheater have custody arrangement sorted, she knows when the grandchildren are available to her and she can pretend it’s all in the past and her son is not a flaming narc (which sounds very genetic in this case). You’re just an inconvenient piece in the puzzle and the sooner you shut up, get on with it and know your place, the better for everyone. Don’t play that game. She can see them on his time, and if he’s what you say he is, he won’t have them often. Perhaps she knows this, and she wants you to play along and allow her access because he won’t be reliable. Again, not your problem.

    • Also, looking back, my partner never had to take responsibility for a thing in his life, before I came along, his parents (more specifically his mother) always swooped in to clean up whatever mess he had made. He worked for the family business, his family sponsored his sports team allowing him to spend a great deal of money on travel and equipment, he lived almost rent-free in his parents’ residences and when he got in trouble with the tax man friends and family bailed him out. And while it on the surface sounds lovely to have such unconditional love and support, he had never had anyone that held up a mirror to his behaviour or questioned his entitlement. He was worry-free because he knew he had a safety net, but that made him entitled and careless and unable to deal with the realities of adult life, or empathize with others concerns about standing on one’s own feet and working towards goals using delayed gratification. He basically was happy to live for today, enjoy himself in the moment, and shunned any kind of responsibility or things that weren’t ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyable’ . So all this culminated in him telling me when our child was an infant that I had just been too mean to him, when I expected him to front up and support us like an adult, and he was running off with the local grifter who had buttered him up by feeding his resentment that I took him for granted and was demanding so that they could run off together and he could spend our money on her. Stupid manchild, I was the woman who expected him to adult, silly me, and if I didn’t have the time or energy to blow smoke up his butt to get him to help out, then I was being mean. His mother’s excuse was that he was a sensitive child, but I believe it was that she coddled him so much that he didn’t know how to stand on his own two feet and take a pro-active role in a relationship.

      • In other words, his parents ruined him. And that’s a great reason to keep them away from the grandkids as much as possible.

  • You have my sympathy. My MIL let my STBX and his OW live in her home while we were in the process of divorce. MIL has only felt sorry for her cheater son. Narcs breed narcs! The best thing I did was block MIL’s number on my cell. No more messages or phone calls from her! Just wish I didn’t have kids with this fuckwit so I could go no contact with him as well.

  • Here’s one source of the problem, the belief that “[w]e have to have contact because of the children.”

    This is a totally unwarranted assumption. Chumps don’t have to have contact with in-laws. Chumps have to have a custody and support order that requires the cheater to pay child support and stick to days and times for custody. The mother-in-law wants to see the grandkids? Then Cheater makes that happen. A really good custody order preserves the chump’s need for time on Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc., and the chump’s job is to stick to the order and to set boundaries that keep flying monkey mother-in-laws away.

    No contact with these people is the best possible thing a chump can do.

  • Wow, what a bitch! If your MIL is also the Queen of England, make sure you don’t go riding through any tunnels.

  • If it’s really “all about the children” the cheater pants will drop the side piece, make steps to change and kiss your ass so hard to forgive so the children can grow up in a 2 parent home.

  • Dear chump, this woman us not human. Call her narc or whatever, but she’s nit human. Your husband is her golden child, and he could do no harm in her eyes. Do Not let their words get to you! It’s all lies! Lawyer up and protect yourself and the children. Let him pay a fat paycheck as spousal support – that is good revenge for this kind of individuals. I can’t call them people.

  • Omg, Chump lady is ever so precise with this one! I hope this poster heeds these words of wisdom. This was like reading about something my ex MIL would have done; who is completely no contact now, and my life is 110% better for it. Amazing how the level of rescuing, blame shifting and toxicity increased dramatically since I walked away from her cheater son.
    How quaint, that the OP’s MIL is trying to rescue her cheater son from having to experience the full consequence of his actions. I wonder if she calls in sick to work for him.

  • Last Christmas I got a random card from my ex’s mother. I’ve been no contact with him and everyone in his family for 5 years and I definitely did not give them my address. She told me she knew that things with my ex had “ended on a bad note,” but she was grateful for the support I had given her when her mother died 6 years ago, and she thought she’d look me up. It was disturbing to say the least.

  • My now EX MIL was along for the whole fucking ride. Knew exactly what her dirt bag son was doing to me and my kids and didn’t say shit. Covered for him. Allowed her and him in her home. Bull. Shit. She tried to pull a fast one on me at my son’s kindergarten graduation. Showed up… and I didn’t know she was coming . Mind you, I’ve said nothing to her in months. After the ceremony , she comes over to me and tries to hug me and says “you know I still love you”. And I quietly whispered in her ear , with a smile on my face, “get the fuck away from me”. Cue jaw drop and dramatic exit.
    Bye Felicia!

  • My In-laws were told, repeatedly, that they could contact the kid anytime they wanted. In the four years since I left, the Grandfather has contacted the kid twice that I know of. XMIL has been asking me for school pictures. As the kid is with his father during school picture time and gets his kid to school late every year because he’s taken the kid on fall hunting trips, school pictures don’t happen (and somehow this is all my fault). This past Christmas I sent the XMIL frameable prints and a photo album of pictures of the kid taken in the last 4 years. I thought she’d be ecstatic. Maybe she is – but I wouldn’t know – ’cause all I’m hearing is crickets. I guess from now on she can pull pictures off of Facebook if she wants.

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